Labelling – how not to do it

My daughter recently received a scarf as a gift. On wearing it for the first time she complained that it was scratching her, and on looking at it in more detail I found that it wasn’t the scarf itself which was scratching her – it was the label. Or more accurately the bundle of labels.

Five separate labels on Bench scarf

Five separate labels on Bench scarf

Clearly there is a need to label products, not only from a consumer information perspective but also from a regulatory perspective too. And I recognise the need to maximise flexibility such that a single product can be sold in many different markets. But I wonder whether somehow this principal has been taken to such an extent that the effect on the consumer has been overlooked, and that somehow the consumer experience is compromised.

The problems I see here:
1. The item cannot be comfortably worn without removing the labels.
2. Removing the labels leaves a residue of label “ends“ tightly sewn onto the scarf, which are unsightly, uncomfortable (it is all but impossible to roundly trim the corners) and which perform no further function once the labels are no longer there.
3. The labels explain (in words) the meaning of each of the international symbols. Isn’t it sufficient to provide the symbols on their own without further explanation in 9 European languages?

And as if that weren’t enough, the text also includes “fasten all zips before washing” and “wash with velcro closed” – both of which are wholly inappropriate for this scarf.

I don’t doubt that this item passes all the appropriate tests, and that every statutory box has been properly ticked. Only one box remains un-ticked – “Consumer delight”. It’s all very well hiding behind regulations, but I suggest that somehow, priorities have become confused.

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